Azure Thursday – April 2021

April 1st was Azure Thursday again! This time, we had three amazing speakers and sessions:

Jonah Andersson | Things to Consider Before Migrating Old .NET Applications to Cloud

Jonah Andersson shares her past experience and important lessons learned about migrating and developing old .NET applications to the Azure cloud. Find out how that project turned into a fiasco not because of Azure but of other factors. Never make the same mistakes.

Dawuda Iddrisu | Best practices for deploying MERN stack applications on Azure

As an engineer, it never ends with development. Deployment is always part of your package. Microsoft Azure has proven to be reliable to deploy just about any application. In this session, Kati Frantz and Dawood Iddris will show you all about deploying your MERN Stack Application and some best practices to follow. A couple of questions that will be answered include should I use PAAS or IAAS, how do I handle the CORS issue, how do I provision a database, do I need a replica of the database, how about latency, how often should I back up my database and so much more. Join us to learn it all along with us in a demo session.

Robin Smorenburg | The Azure Bakery

Welcome to ‘The Azure Bakery.’ In this talk, we’ll bake a delicious layered Azure cake. The idea behind this talk is to approach Azure in an easy to understand and fun way. The goal is to engineer and deploy solutions in the best way possible. At the same time, we’re trying to keep it simple. We’ll bake the foundational layers of every future Azure solution. What is needed when building these solutions?

Watch the stream

You can watch the full recording of the stream here:

Bi-weekly Azure Summary – Part 75

This bi-weekly update is a summary of trending Azure topics on social media, as well as other interesting content available on the internet.

Below, you can see an overview of interesting blogs, articles, videos and more that are posted on social media and other channels:


Development / IT Pro


Azure Thursday – February 2021

Our Azure Thursday meetup was a huge success again! This time, we had the following speakers and sessions:

Rory Preddy | Programming for Accessibility

Building accessibility into the planning stages of programming can eliminate barriers to participation and create an inclusive environment for people with disabilities. Programming for diversity serves as an unquestionable indicator that your software embraces the diversity of your users and cares about their safety and comfort.

Andre van den Berg | Blogging with Markdown and Azure DevOps

Explaining the basics of markdown, and then show how you can build a static site with Hugo generated from the markdown files. Then will show how to automate this with Azure DevOps. So first we put the markdown files on a Azure Repo so we can have version control. Then we build a Build pipeline in Azure DevOps to generate the Artifact that we can use in the Release pipeline to Publish the static generated website on Azure Webapps when there is a commit on the master of the Repo.

Esther Barthel & Freek Berson | Empowering ARM and JSON with Project ‘Bicep’

70% of all declarative resources created in Azure are done via ARM Templates! ARM Templates are based on JSON and a declarative syntax, but how easy is it to author these? Join Esther and Freek for a fun and demo-heavy session and learn how to empower your ARM Templates with Project ‘Bicep’!

Bi-weekly Azure Summary – Part 74

This bi-weekly update is a summary of trending Azure topics on social media, as well as other interesting content available on the internet.

Below, you can see an overview of interesting blogs, articles, videos and more that are posted on social media and other channels:


Development / IT Pro


How to learn Azure

Cloud skills are becoming more popular every day! A lot of organizations are embracing the cloud for their applications, infrastructure, Machine Learning and IoT solutions. And this will grow significally in the next years!

This also means that (Microsoft) IT professionals need to update their skills as well. In this article I will give an overview how you can get started updating your skills and be ready for all the Azure work that is coming in the near future!

Create a free Azure account

The first step, is to create a free Azure account. With this account you can test all the different services and deploy your code to Azure during the different trainings. You get 12 months of free access to all the different Azure services for a limited amount per month.

You can create a free Azure account here: Create your Azure free account today | Microsoft Azure. There is also a module on Microsoft Learn that gives you more information about creating a free Azure account, and how billing and support works in Azure. This module is called: Create an Azure account.

Learn Azure on Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn offers free, interactive, hands-on training to help you develop Azure technical skills. You can find a variety of learning paths on Microsoft Learn, such as Azure, Microsoft 365, .NET development, Power Platform an more. You can also watch Learn TV, or explore the different Azure certifications from there.

Microsoft Learn TV

For start learning Azure, the following learning paths are very interesting:

Azure Fundamentals Learning Paths:

Azure Fundamentals Learning Paths

These learning paths will give you a very comprehensive introduction to Azure. By completing the learning path, you will also be ready to take the AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification.

Learn Azure using Microsoft Docs

Another great source for learning Azure are the Microsoft Docs. I make lots of use it for writing my Azure books. You can find anything that you want to know about Azure there.

Azure documentation on Microsoft Docs

Learn Azure using books

There is also a variety of books available to learn Azure. You can have a look at Amazon for the different books that are available.

To highlight a couple of books:


Azure Thursday – January 2021

Yesterday we had a very interesting Azure Thursday meetup again. We had the following speakers and sessions:

Scott Hanselman | Part II: Moving a 17 year old legacy blog platform to the cloud

Scott’s blog is super old. The tech is super old. Scott is super old. What happens when he tries to move the whole Hanselman online mess to Azure? Let’s talk to him and find out.

This is part II in this saga we started last July. Scott will tell us how he succeeded and everyone knows the part II in the saga is even better than the first one.

Martijn Beenker – The enterprise data lake: monitoring at scale

When data lakes grow, they grow in size, complexity and inhabitants – creating complex dependencies across wide ranges of Azure services and different teams. Creating a true operations challenge: how do you find and respond to incidents, and who should respond?

During this session, we’ll look at how to monitor across the boundaries of Azure services and development teams that together make the ecosystem of the data lake. Aided by the Four Golden Signals and Azure Monitor capabilities we’ll create the blueprint for effective monitoring and incident handling. No matter how big the lake.

Menaka Baskerpillai | All about Azure Network Securities

In this session Menaka is going to explain how to implement network security in Azure. Networking security plays an important role in Todays world. Implementing security via cloud services provider plays a vital role.

You can watch the whole recording of yesterdays stream here:

Bi-weekly Azure Summary – Part 73

This bi-weekly update is a summary of trending Azure topics on social media, as well as other interesting content available on the internet.

Below, you can see an overview of interesting blogs, articles, videos and more that are posted on social media and other channels:


Development / IT Pro


Azure DevOps Explained

My new book: Azure DevOps Explained is just released!

I’ve written this book together with Amit Malik, and Stephano Demilliani. It is aimed at developers, solutions architects, and DevOps engineers interested in getting started with cloud DevOps practices on Azure.

What you will learn

  • Get to grips with Azure DevOps
  • Find out about project management with Azure Boards
  • Understand source code management with Azure Repos
  • Build and release pipelines
  • Run quality tests in build pipelines
  • Use artifacts and integrate Azure DevOps in the GitHub flow
  • Discover real-world CI/CD scenarios with Azure DevOps

Table of Contents

  1. Azure DevOps Overview
  2. Managing Projects with Azure DevOps Boards
  3. Source Control Management with Azure DevOps
  4. Understanding Azure DevOps Pipelines
  5. Running Quality Tests in a Build Pipeline
  6. Hosting Your Own Azure Pipeline Agent
  7. Using Artifacts with Azure DevOps
  8. Deploying Applications with Azure DevOps
  9. Integrating Azure DevOps with GitHub
  10. Using Test Plans with Azure DevOps
  11. Real-World CI/CD Scenarios with Azure DevOps

You can order the book on Amazon using this link:

What a Cloud Center of Excellence can do for your organization?

Most companies go through a set of phases in their Microsoft cloud journey. They start with experimenting with the cloud for rapid application development. A single subscription is manually created in the Azure portal, and a set of services is quickly deployed from the portal to serve business and the developers’ needs. It is even not uncommon in this phase for the business or for the developers to use their own credit card to create this single subscription. The main goal in this phase is to serve business needs quickly, creating small proofs of concept, or avoiding the lengthy and time-consuming deployment strategies of bigger organizations.

In the next phase, the IT department starts taking the first steps into the cloud and creating additional subscriptions mostly targeted to the different departments in the organization. They will introduce centralized deployments and start thinking about security and compliance in the cloud.

In the third phase, the organization embraces the cloud on a larger scale. Senior management has decided to transform IT and shift to a cloud-first approach. Applications and data centers need to be migrated, hybrid environments need to be created, and all new applications need to be cloud native. This is the moment that most organizations realize they need a proper governance model and strategy.

As cloud environments are managed on a large scale, there is a need for a solid architecture around structuring subscriptions, networking, databases, applications, security and compliance regulations, and so on. Successfully managing a cloud platform on a large scale requires ownership in the organization. It also requires a centralized entity to maintain best practices, onboard the cloud customers, and make sure that all services are secure and compliant by default.

When they start implementing these technical aspects on a large scale and embedding them into the organization, people start to realize that this also involves a significant organizational and cultural change. This is where a Cloud Center of Excellence comes in.

What does a Cloud Center of Excellence do?

A Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) is used to bring a diverse and knowledgeable group of experts from across the organization together to develop cloud best practices for the rest of the organization to follow. The CCoE has a support function to increase productivity throughout the organization and at the same time maintain a consistent and secure cloud platform. It is based on Microsoft agile practices and a delivery model that provides a programmatic approach to implement, manage, and operate the Microsoft Azure platform for onboarding projects and Azure workloads effectively.

A CCoE model, requires collaboration between:

  • Cloud adoption
  • Cloud strategy
  • Cloud governance
  • Cloud platform
  • Cloud automation

When these aspects are addressed, the participants can accelerate innovation and migration while reducing the overall costs of change and increasing business agility. When implemented successfully, a CCoE will create a significant cultural shift in IT as well. Without the CCoE model, IT tends to focus on providing control and central responsibility. A successful CCoE model provides focus on freedom and delegated responsibility. This works best in a technology strategy with a self-service model that allows business units to make their own decisions. The CCoE provides a set of guidelines and established and repeatable controls, used by the business.

Key responsibilities of a Cloud Center of Excellence

The primary goal of the CCoE team is to accelerate cloud adoption through cloud native and hybrid solutions. The CCoE has the following objectives:

  • Build a modern IT organization by capturing and implementing business requirements using agile approaches
  • Build reusable deployment packages that fully align with security, compliance, and service management policies
  • Maintain a functional Azure platform in alignment with operational procedures
  • Review and approve the use of cloud-native tools
  • Over time, standardize and automate commonly needed platform components and solutions

The Cloud Center of Excellence team

The CCoE team ideally consists of 3–5 people with a variety of IT backgrounds. This will bring a broad perspective and balanced set of knowledge. It should ideally include people who already have cloud experience and day-to-day roles, such as:

  • IT/Operations/IT financial manager
  • Solution/Infrastructure Architect
  • Application developer
  • Network engineer
  • Database administrator
  • Systems administrator

Excellent way to start your cloud journey

This blog will help organizations who are going through the different phases in their cloud journey and starting to transform their IT department to be ready for innovation, speed, and control. The Cloud Center of Excellence is an ideal model to accelerate your cloud adoption program.

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